Exodus Chapter 1 Verses 12-14
:12 “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their
service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”
“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” One of the aims of the Egyptians was population control of the children of Israel. Affliction failed to accomplish what they hoped it would as far as population control was concerned. Actually it had the opposite effect as the more that the children of Israel were afflicted, the
more they grew. There is a parallel spiritual lesson for us. The more that the children of God are afflicted, the more their faith grows and the more they depend upon God.
“And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Because of Pharaoh’s brainwashing, the Egyptians viewed the Israelites as a mortal threat to them and to see their numbers grow was a grief of mind to the Egyptians. Likewise, when the unbelievers see the faith of a child of God increase, it is a grief of mind to them because they think
their wicked lifestyle is being threatened.
“And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.” The afflictions of the children of Israel were no doubt, quite severe. The lives of the
children of Israel were made bitter with hard bondage. With long hours of hard grueling labor without much rest and without any hope of things getting better, their lives became very bitter. They had become the property of others and they had been reduced to be like work animals.
Similar to the above, when God’s born again children become knowledgeable of their sins and feel the burden of sin in their hearts, their heart and soul is made to serve with rigour in an attempt to bear the burden of their sin. To this situation, the Lord said in Matt. 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we come to Jesus and realize that he has born the burden of sin for us on the tree of the cross, we feel a great sense of relief and rest. Moreover, we can then begin to bear the burden of service knowing that the Lord is our helper and that he is yoked with us so that our
yoke is easy and our burden is light.
:15 “And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared
God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. 20 Therefore God dealt
well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.”
The wickedness of the king of Egypt is very apparent from the above passage. First, he asked the Hebrew midwives to murder the newborn male babies of the Hebrews. It is safe to conclude that this Pharaoh was a murderer. Moreover, Pharaoh’s intentions concerning the Hebrews were also extremely wicked. He fact that he would have killed all the male babies and saved the female babies
alive suggest that Pharaoh had more in mind than just population control, which is of itself very wicked. He intended by his actions to destroy the Hebrews as a separately identified people by killing all the male babies. If population control was all that he was after, then it would have made more logic to kill most of the female babies and save the male babies. However, by killing all the male babies, Pharaoh
showed his intention to destroy the Hebrew race of people and make sex slaves out of the females.
The Hebrew midwives refused to do what Pharaoh commanded them to do for the reason that they feared God. Their fear of God was greater than their fright of Pharaoh. Some self-righteous commentators have strongly criticized the Hebrew midwives because of their tale that the Hebrew women were livelier than the Egyptian women and are delivered before the midwives come in unto them. What
would those self-righteous commentators have had the midwives to do? Would they have them to tell Pharaoh that they just refused to obey them? This would have meant that Pharaoh would have killed them. Moreover, they knew that Pharaoh would have just gotten other midwives to do his wicked deeds. By telling the tale to Pharaoh the midwives not only saved their own lives but also the lives of the Hebrew male
babies. God blessed them for this and made them houses.
Pharaoh’s wicked designs were thwarted by the actions of the Hebrew midwives and the children of Israel multiplied and waxed mighty to the consternation of Pharaoh.
:22 “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.”
Pharaoh still was desirous to carry out his wicked plans and came up with another scheme to destroy the identity of the children of Israel and to ultimately make sex slaves out of the young female babies that
he would have saved alive. Pharaoh’s wicked plan required the Hebrew women to be responsible for murdering their own male babies! Certainly, this if carried out would have made the promise of God made to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob without effect. God would not permit that to come to pass. God always carries out his promises, regardless of what obstacles men may try to put in the way of His accomplishing his
purpose. Moreover, as we will see, one of the sons who was cast in the river God will use to bring about the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage.